The Black Rose of Newberg (Chapter 2)

This eight-chapter novella is the second of two stories set in between the periods of Stranger Things: The College Years and Stranger Things: The New Generation. I advise reading those stories, as well as the third in that trilogy, Stranger Things: World’s End, before reading The Witch of Yamhill County and then this one, which are supplementary and do not involve the Upside Down. Like the Upside Down trilogy, they are works of fan fiction based on the Stranger Things TV series. I do not profit from these stories and they are not canon. There is plenty of Stranger Things fiction to be found online (see here), but if I learn that the Duffer Brothers do not appreciate fan fiction of their work, or if they order a cease-and-desist, I will gladly pull the stories down.

                                  The Black Rose of Newberg — Chapter Two

                                   Dirty Gold

“Let’s get out of here,” said Hopper. Jane nodded, wiping her nose. She looked battered, as if she had absorbed Lyndsey Wyatt’s assault.

They left the room, and Hopper nodded to the outside guard. As they headed down the hall, Hopper considered what he was up against. Twenty-nine officers comprised the Newberg police force. Five of them had gold shields. His daughter had just narrowed the pool of Black Rose suspects from virtually every man in the city to a meager handful, and yet Hopper’s task had become next to impossible. The faces clicked through his mind like projector slides. He felt sick. None of these could be the face of Black Rose. Yet one of them was.

The top dog was Shane McCormick, chief of police. He had an immaculate record, and all the experience, charisma, and sense of justice that made citizens adore him. McCormick supervised the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) which consisted of himself plus the four detectives. Their reputations were just as impeccable. Paul Holland was the persons crime detective, in charge of homicides, rapes, and assaults. Naturally he was lead on the Black Rose case. Gavin Ridge handled property crimes: robbery, arson, vandalism, extortion, fraud. Walter Plante chased narcotics: drug users, drug sellers, illegal firearms, gangs. Ed Barnes covered youth crimes: child abuse, child exploitation, and runaways.

Hopper knew them all. They were good men and first-rate detectives. Most had been on the Newberg police force since Hopper took over as county sheriff in 1987. Ten years now. Gavin Ridge was the newest, having transferred from Iowa four years ago, and Walter Plante had come from Southern California seven years ago. Hopper liked Walter especially and had invited him over for dinner twice. He couldn’t fathom any of these officers as a serial killer. Paul Holland could be a supreme asshole, but that was no crime.

They reached the elevator, and Jane stopped him. Hopper noticed she wasn’t walking straight. “What is it?” he demanded. “Do you need to sit down?”

She nodded. Her nose was running again.

He grabbed her arm and pointed to the second-floor lounge. “Over there,” he said, walking her slowly. The vision must have hit hard. He had seen Jane take avalanches of abuse and still go on fighting. But this had been an internal battle. After fourteen years, he still didn’t know how to gauge the cost of her psychic powers.

They sat in the lounge. It was half full of people reading, snacking, and talking in hushed tones. Hopper asked her if she wanted some water, and she shook her head. “I just need a few minutes.”

He needed hours. His mind refused to process the mess Jane had dumped on him. There was one suspect he could exclude: Ed Barnes, the youth crimes detective, had recently been on vacation with his wife in Fort Lauderdale; during the third week of September. There was no way Barnes could have killed the librarian Fiona Ray, and so he wasn’t Black Rose. Hopper would call the airlines and Florida hotels to verify Barnes’ itinerary, but he knew the alibi was solid. That still left four gold shields which he, Jim Hopper, had to personally investigate behind everyone’s back.

He was about to engage in career suicide.

If the sheriff’s office suspected a dirty cop in the Newberg police, then protocol dictated that Hopper should bring the matter to Shane McCormick. But for all Hopper knew, McCormick was Black Rose. He found that impossible to believe, but he felt the same way about Holland, Ridge, and Plante. That meant there was an even 25% chance that any of these four men was the killer. With odds that high, Hopper couldn’t risk confiding in McCormick. He would keep going rogue. And he would keep using his secret weapon: Jane.

Assuming she was up to this. She was still reeling from the vision.

“This bombshell could be the end of me,” he said, more to himself than her. “Unless I just ignore it.”

“You can’t ignore it,” said Jane.

“Psychic visions don’t mean anything in the police world. If I act on this, I’m going to need more of your help to nail the bad cop.”

Jane didn’t hesitate. “Of course.”

“You’re sure?”

“I want this person dead or behind bars. I felt a big part of what Lindsey Wyatt felt. She was in terror and being cut apart, and she should have died from it. I hope she does die. I wouldn’t want to live after an attack like that.”

Hopper nodded. “Okay. There are five cops with gold badges in Newberg. Any one of four of them could be the Black Rose killer.” He ran down the roster and explained why they could exclude Ed Barnes. “We’re going to need to spy on these guys. And by that I mean you’re going to have to spy on them. In the Void. It’s the only way I can think of catching them. You do your thing, and see what each of them do at random times during the day. See if they ever make trips to this white house with the flag and picket fence.”

“I don’t know what they look like,” said Jane. “I need to meet them. Or have photos of them.”

“I know. I’d like you to meet them up close and shake their hands. We can go over to the police department right now.” Hopefully the detectives were all there. It was early enough to catch them before they left their offices for field work.

“What, you’re going to introduce me to them?”

“Are you okay with that?” he asked.

“I’m not scared of Black Rose, if that’s what you mean, ” she said.

“You should be. He may not be a shadow monster or Baba Yaga, but you’re not invincible. If a dirty cop thinks you’re on to him, all it takes is a sniping bullet to kill you before you can react. Even a knife in the back, if he surprises you from behind.”

“I know this, Dad.”

“I don’t like using you like this, but I’ve got no other way.”

“Have you been hearing me? I can do this.”

“We’ll say that you’re job shadowing me.”

“Job shadowing?”

“It means following someone and watching him do his job. People job shadow when they want to learn more about a career. Just say that you’re interested in police work, and you’re shadowing me for a day.”

She snorted. “No one will take me seriously.”

“You’d be surprised. Newberg had its first woman cop three years ago. Now there are two. In big cities like Portland it’s not as big a deal.”

“I don’t mean that,” she said. “I just mean me. I’m way too small to be a cop.”

“Anyway. There’s another reason I want you to see the detectives up close. I want them to see you. All the victims were attractive women in their twenties.” He looked at her pointedly. “You’re an attractive woman in your twenties.”

“I don’t think I fit the profile. I’m not popular or successful. People don’t know me in Portland.”

“It doesn’t matter. That detail isn’t relevant on first sight. When Black Rose sees you, you’ll remind him of his victims. You may trigger a subtle reaction. Maybe not — detectives have good poker faces — but we’ll watch them closely.”

She stood and wiped more blood from her nose. “What are we waiting for?”

 

As he drove her to City Hall, he described the four suspects. Shane McCormick was 38 and lived alone. He had never married, which still surprised Hopper. The guy was a drop-dead knock out, and he wasn’t gay. Paul Holland was 45 and married. He had two sons who were both in college. Gavin Ridge was 42 and married, no kids. Walter Plante was 41 and divorced. He had a high-school daughter he saw every other weekend. His ex had run roughshod over him, and he had gone through a bad period. That was when Hopper had a few lunches with him, and invited him over for dinner twice.

“If you had to guess, who would be your prime suspect?” she asked.

“Are you kidding? I can’t imagine any one of them as Black Rose,” he said. “I’m going to rely heavily on your psychic sixth sense.”

“Have you heard from Sara recently?” she asked.

Where did that come from? “I got a letter from her at the end of August. She’s in middle school now, seventh grade. Why?”

“It’s too bad it never worked out between you two. She’s got ESP. If you brought her to the station, she could read the detective’s minds without them even knowing it.”

It was precisely because of Sara Schwartz’s ESP ability that Hopper had reneged on adopting her. After the horror of Baba Yaga’s Hut, he had done his best with her for almost two months. She was in second grade, and he had sent her to the best school in Newberg, the C.S. Lewis Academy. It had been a nightmare out of the gate. Sara could read everyone’s mind, and she wasn’t good at discretion, despite Hopper’s coaching. She was young and without filters. She had scared her classmates and teachers, and Hopper had pulled her from the academy before the end of September. She cried every night; she wanted friends, but was trying too hard to make them. She used her ESP to learn what kids wanted and what made them happy. All she made them was terrified. Some even thought she was demonic. A Christian academy was not the place for Sara Schwartz.

The situation solved itself (for Hopper at least) when Sara’s aunt and uncle from Idaho offered to adopt her. Hopper had graciously let her go, though the parting was brutal. The short time he had spent raising Sara had put him through the ringer. He loved her, but she wasn’t the girl he had found in Baba Yaga’s Hut. She had eaten a magic apple that saved her from insanity, but at the cost of her seven-year old innocence. She was filled with every thought and desire of whomever she came close to, including Hopper, no matter how unpleasant or vulgar. She knew people — and they knew that she knew.

When he read her August letter, he had broken down. It had brought back everything from that terrible night. The kids Baba Yaga had eaten; the older kids he had become friends with, and had failed to protect. Sara, whom he had rescued, but couldn’t keep. Jane, who had saved them both…

“Dad!” yelled Jane. She had been talking and he hadn’t heard a word.

He suspended his self-pity and all thoughts of Sara Schwartz. She was gone, like his other Sara. “I don’t need Sara,” he said. “I need you.”

“You’ll have to add me to the county payroll.”

“Kid, I’ll be lucky if I’m still on the county payroll when this is said and done.”

“What about the fifth detective?” she asked.

“Barnes? He’s 36 and married, with a son in high school, a daughter in grade school. But we don’t care about him. He can’t be Black Rose.”

“I know. So why don’t we ask him to work with us? We could use some inside help, right?”

“No way. I thought of that. Barnes is the youngest detective and too insecure. He would never keep quiet. He’d consider it his holy duty to inform McCormick about anything we tell him. We’ve got to do this dirty work on our own.”

They rode in silence for a few minutes. City Hall drew closer on their left, and Hopper pulled off the highway. Then Jane thought of something. “Can you find out where the detectives were during the murders? Don’t the police work different shifts?”

“The patrol officers do,” said Hopper. “They work one of three shifts: 6:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 2:00 PM – 10:00 PM, and 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM, and on alternating weekends. But detectives have the nice hours: eight to five on weekdays, with evenings and weekends off. The killings happened at night, between eight and nine. None of the detectives would have been on duty, so that doesn’t help us.”

“How come you don’t have those nice hours? You’re a sheriff.”

Because I supervise a bunch of lazy jackasses. He actually did have most evenings off, but he put in a shit-ton of Saturdays. “I’m not saying the detectives never work evenings and weekends. The trade-off for their nice hours is that they’re always on emergency call. Even at two in the morning, they could get called in. They also put in longer days if the case loads demand it.” Paul Holland worked late hours almost every night on the Black Rose case. If Holland was the killer, then he must have been laughing his ass off at being tasked with finding himself. He would be sabotaging the investigation any way he could.

“Well,” said Jane, “I guess you should find out if any of them were working long evenings or got called in on the dates in question.”

“I can’t without tipping off McCormick.” Hopper had no access to employee time cards or work schedules of the Newberg police. He could check the dispatch logs, of course, but those listed mostly patrol officers, who made arrests as the first respondents on a scene. Hopper cursed his restricted role in Newberg.

“Then we need to clear McCormick from our suspect list,” said Jane.

“We’re making all four of them our equal priority,” said Hopper. “We’re going to eliminate suspects through you, not through schedules or logs that probably wouldn’t tell us anything.” He pulled into a parking space and killed the ignition.

She saw where they were. “Newberg still doesn’t have a police station?” The third floor of City Hall had been Newberg’s police department since the Depression.

Hopper smiled. “We’re not in Portland anymore, Dorothy.”

“Dorothy?” she asked.

“It might change next year. Rumors.” He looked at Jane closely. She seemed mostly recovered. “You ready?”

“Yeah,” she exhaled. “Ready.”

“Let’s do it.” They got out of the car, and headed to the side entrance of City Hall. Hopper glanced up at the third floor, his jaw set. We’re coming for you, bastard. My daughter is going to nail you and pin a black rose on you at your arraignment.

 

“Hopp!” Shane McCormick was alone in the conference room, and he put his papers down as Hopper and Jane walked in. As always, the police chief radiated strength and an electric charisma. Women wanted him, and men idolized him. He had gifted genes, a shrewd mind, and could multitask in his sleep.

“Hi Shane,” said Hopper. Already he was hating this. “What’s new?”

“Nothing good these days,” said McCormick. He had just finished with his team. He met with the detectives every morning and covered progress on their cases, while assigning new ones. The four detectives would be back in their offices now, but maybe not for long. They had plenty of field work.

McCormick saw Jane and looked back at Hopper. “What brings you by?”

“This is my daughter, Jane. She’s job shadowing me today. I wanted to show her my home town’s finest before heading off to the sheriff’s office. Jane, this is Police Chief Shane McCormick.”

“Hi,” said Jane, holding out her hand.

“Hi yourself,” said McCormick, shaking her hand, and holding it. “I’ve heard about you, but your father never told me you were eye candy.”

Hopper was surprised to see Jane blush. He had never seen his daughter show feelings like that for anyone besides Mike Wheeler, and that hadn’t changed after Mike’s death. Hopper had certainly never seen her blush from any man’s compliments — not even if they came from a knock-out like McCormick. Was she faking it? Was it some ploy? Could she flush her skin tone at will?

Jane looked bashful. “I need my hand back,” she said to the chief.

“Yes, you do,” McCormick said. He released her. “You’re interested in law enforcement?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “If the police chief keeps everyone in tight quarters like you do, maybe not. Why doesn’t Newberg have a police station?”

He laughed. “Don’t look at me! The damn mayor has been the problem. But not any more. We’re moving next year. Out of City Hall, into the new public safety building down on Third Street.”

“So that’s really happening?” asked Hopper. He could hardly believe it. This floor of City Hall had been the town’s police department since 1927.

“Another budget committee has to approve it, but it’s only a formality. No one doubts it will pass.”

“Congratulations,” said Hopper.

“Newberg keeps growing,” said McCormick. “Our police force is growing. Jane is right, we need a real station.”

“Especially to catch someone like Black Rose,” said Jane.

“Black Who?” asked McCormick.

“Black Rose,” said Jane.

“I don’t know anyone by that name.”

“Really?” asked Jane. “He’s all I’ve heard about today, and it’s my first day in town.”

“Exactly. That’s why I’ve never heard of him. Except during the ten hours a day I have to hear about him. Makes me sick.” He looked at his watch. “Shit.”

“No leads on the case then?” asked Hopper.

“Not really,” said McCormick. “Detective Holland has followed all leads into a massive sewer that drains back to square one.”

“We’re going to see him next,” said Hopper. “Thanks Shane.”

“Take it easy, Hopp. And Jane: stop by any time.”

Jane smiled. “I will.”

 

Past the conference room was McCormick’s office, and next door to his was Paul Holland’s. City Hall might be the close quarters Jane complained about, but at least the detectives had their own offices. There were city detectives everywhere in the country who didn’t have that luxury. Hopper and Jane looked inside to see a thin man with a loud voice firing orders at a pair of beat cops. The officers stood before him taking their medicine. Hopper pitied them. Working under Holland was a daily trial. The detective dismissed the officers, and promised them desolation if they came up short. They left his office, rushing past Hopper and Jane without glancing at them.

Hopper knocked on his door. “Hey Paul. Do you have a minute?”

Holland’s head shot up at the intrusion. “Jim?” He stood up and came around the desk. The detective had a weathered face, unkempt hair, and an unpressed suit. He might have slept in his clothes, if he slept at all. The bags under his eyes suggested otherwise. He looked at Jane and then back at Hopper. “What are you doing here?”

“This is my daughter, Jane,” said Hopper. “She’s job shadowing me today. Jane, this is –”

Holland cut him off. “Job shadowing? How quaint. How foolish. How bored this young lady must already be.”

Jane offered her hand. “Nice to meet you,” she said. Holland eyed the hand as if fearing germs, then reluctantly shook. Hopper was impressed at the way she took Holland in stride. “I’ve been curious about my dad’s career, and I wanted to see what the inside of law enforcement is.”

“Dismal work for dirt pay is what it is,” said Holland. “And a waste of your time.”

Hopper sighed. This man had a wife. How did Barbara Holland get through her days? “How’s the Black Rose case going?”

“It’s not,” said Holland bluntly.

“No suspects?”

“Everyone is Black Rose, Jim. Don’t you keep up? I have to go.”

“Well, good luck,” said Hopper.

“It’s all there is,” said Holland, moving past him and Jane.

“Nice to meet you,” said Jane, stepping aside for him.

Holland grumbled a good-bye and walked fast down the hallway. He opened the door to the stairs and left the police office.

“Nice,” said Jane.

“That’s a good day for him,” said Hopper. “He’s usually worse.”

 

Across from Holland’s office was Detective Barnes. He was talking on the phone, and they didn’t need to meet him, so they went further down the hall to an office next to Holland’s. They looked inside. A serious looking man sat at his desk, leafing through files. He had short hair, wore round thin-rimmed glasses, and was dressed in a grey suit with a purple dress shirt and tie. Purple was Gavin Ridge’s color.

“Hey Gavin,” said Hopper, knocking on the door frame.

The detective looked up and put his file down. “Jim,” he said sternly. “What brings you to your own town?” He always said this when he saw Hopper. Newberg was Hopper’s town because he lived here. But it wasn’t a town he had full jurisdiction over, nor even where the sheriff’s office was located, which was McMinnville. Ridge never got tired of his own joke. He never laughed at his joke either, or anyone’s jokes for that matter.

“Showing my daughter around. This is Jane. She’s job shadowing me today. Jane, this is Detective Ridge.”

Ridge didn’t rise from his seat. His eyes appraised Jane through professorial glasses that sparkled.

“It’s nice to meet you,” said Jane. She moved closer to shake Ridge’s hand.

Ridge leaned forward in his chair, taking her hand. “Pleasure,” he said. “What do you do, Jane?”

“I don’t work,” said Jane. “I have a three-year old son, so most of my time is spent home with him.”

The detective smiled for the first time. “I’m sure you do more work than I. Full time mothers are underappreciated.”

“I’ve always been curious about dad’s police work,” said Jane. “The Black Rose case must have you all on edge. I thought mass murders happened in big cities. Like Miami and New York. Or Portland, where I live.” Hopper kept his face straight but smiled inside. Jane was good at this.

Ridge frowned at the mention of Portland. “You don’t live in Newberg?”

“I did for a few years, with dad. Then I moved to Portland.” That actually happened twice; Jane was condensing for simplification. When Hopper had transferred to Oregon in 1987, he and Jane moved into his house on Hawthorne. She had stayed there until 1990, when Mike Wheeler returned from the dead in Hawkins. Mike moved to Portland with Jane, and Hopper had set them up in in a downtown apartment. After Mike’s suicide in 1993, Jane had moved back to Newberg, to live with her father again. Then, in the spring of 1996, she returned to Portland to be on her own with Mike Junior, who was then in his terrible twos. Hopper had bought a modest home for them in the southeast district.

“Metropolises aren’t good for kids,” said Ridge, shooting Hopper a disapproving look. Gavin was as old-fashioned as he was humorless.

“I don’t know, Gavin,” said Hopper. “I wouldn’t want my child growing up in a town where Black Rose ran loose.”

“Perhaps I’m misinformed, Jim. Is Black Rose now killing children?”

“No,” said Jane. “Just women my age. I guess it is a good thing I moved back to the city.”

“Well,” said Ridge, standing up finally. “I hope you enjoy your visit.” He looked at Hopper. “Is there anything else? I have an angry couple I need to go see. Someone threw rocks through their windows.”

“We’ll move on. Thanks, Gavin.”

 

They left Ridge’s office and went across the hall to Walter Plante’s. He wasn’t in.

“Maybe he left,” said Jane.

“Maybe,” said Hopper, entering the office. “Come on in, and take a good look at his photo.” A desk portrait showed a man with dark hair and a goatee, with his arms around a girl who was perhaps fifteen. Walter and his daughter Shawna.

“His daughter?” asked Jane.

“Yeah. She’s all Walter has had to live for since the divorce. But they’ve been fighting a lot for the past few months. She only sees him every other weekend, but she thinks that’s too often. And she always takes her mother’s side against Walter.”

Jane looked at him. “Is Plante angry at women?”

“He and Rebecca were in their thirties when they divorced, not their twenties. And it was a while ago; almost four years.”

“People don’t snap and go crazy overnight. And you said he’s been fighting with his daughter only recently.”

“There’s no way Black Rose is Walter,” said Hopper. “Can’t be.”

“So you say,” she said. “I want a photo to take –”

A voice boomed behind them: “Hey! You taking me over?”

He and Jane turned around. Plante was in the doorway, feigning outrage. Hopper smiled. “How are you, Walter?”

Plante came in and gave him a hug. “Always super to see you, man. This office drives me crazy.” He looked at Jane. “Holy cow. Is this the famous daughter?”

“That’s her,” said Hopper. “She’s job shadowing me today. Jane, this is Detective Plante.”

“Why am I famous?” asked Jane, shaking his hand.

“Oh, the stories he tells,” said Plante. “Your rough childhood in Indiana. Until adopted by this slob. Made him happy again. I’ve been dying to meet you.”

Hopper was glad to see Jane smiling. Walter was easy to like. If he’s Black Rose, then I give up on the world. “How’s your own famous daughter doing?” he asked the detective.

Plante became sour. “Shawna’s not famous. She’s got a lot to learn in life.” He changed the subject. “Hey listen, I got a lot of work to catch up on, but what are you guys doing for lunch? Maybe we can get together at Subterra, or Abby’s if you want a pizza.”

“No, sorry,” said Hopper. “I have to get back to the sheriff’s office. Show Jane where I really work.” In truth Jane was returning to Portland after they were done here.

“Oh. Too bad.” The detective looked at Jane. “Have you seen McMinnville before?”

“Just briefly a few times,” she said. “Dad and I have been living in Oregon for ten years, and I know so little about where he spends most of his day.”

“Well, if you like beer, the county seat is the place to go.” Plante loved beer, as did Hopper. McMinnville was known for its craft breweries, especially the Golden Valley Brewery and Pub, founded four years ago. Not only was the beer to die for, the pub owners raised Angus beef on their family ranch. In all of America, only a dozen restaurants served beef produced exclusively for their own restaurant; the Golden Valley Brewery was one of them.

“Beer isn’t my favorite,” said Jane.

“Oh well,” said Plante.

“We’ll let you get back to work,” said Hopper. “But let’s you and I do that lunch sometime. Maybe next week?” Assuming you’re not in jail by then for being a raging psychopath.

“You bet, Hopp.”

“Maybe Black Rose will be caught by then,” said Hopper, watching him carefully.

Plante frowned. “You know something I don’t?”

“Just hoping.”

“That fucker will never get caught,” said Plante. “Holland and McCormick are chasing their tails.”

“You think he’ll get away with it?” asked Jane.

“It’s been a month now,” said Plante. “In a town like Newberg, of all places. The guy knows what he’s doing and where to hide.”

In plain sight? Under a shield of gold? “Thanks Walter. I’ll be in touch.” He left the office, and Jane started to follow.

“Lovely to meet you, Jane,” said Plante.

“Same,” she said, smiling.

 

“You have a favorite?” he asked as they got in the car.

Jane didn’t answer right away. She buckled in and sat back. “Yes,” she said.

“Really?” His key was in the ignition, but he waited.

She nodded, staring out the windshield.

“Don’t keep me in suspense,” he said, impatient. “Who?”

“Not saying,” she said.

“Oh, come on!” said Hopper.

“Dad, it’s too early, and it might just be a first impressions thing.” Hopper wasn’t impressed by this deflection. His daughter’s first impressions of people were often pretty accurate. She had a gifted sixth sense, enhanced by her psychic abilities.

“Listen, we’re a team here, and I’m the cop. You need to communicate with me.”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Yeah!” he mimicked. “And what was that shit, by the way, with McCormick? I thought you were having an orgasm on the spot.”

“Maybe I was.”

“Bullshit. And I’m not kidding with you. You need to talk to me.”

“Of course,” she said. “But I’m not kidding either. It’s too early to talk about my suspicions. I just met them and shook their hands. I get bad feelings about people for lots of reasons, not just because they’re killers. Let’s do it this way: later today — or tonight — I’ll visit them in the Void. Black Rose isn’t supposed to kill for another — what?”

“Eleven days,” said Hopper. “The 19th. But that’s assuming we can depend on him sticking to a pattern. It’s probably a stupid assumption.”

“Okay. I’ll visit them this evening — see what they do and how they act when they’re not on police duty. And I’ll keep doing that for the next couple days. In the morning too; more than once a day, at different times. When I have something concrete, come up to Portland and we can talk.”

“I’m calling you tonight for your first report,” he said. His tone was final.

“Fine. Call after nine. I’ll visit them each at eight-thirty.”

“Good,” he said. Black Rose always killed between eight and nine. If by some wild chance he stepped up his timetable, Jane would catch him red-handed.

“Now drive, and let me sleep,” she said. She pushed back her seat for a nap.

“Yeah, you earned it kid.” He had to get to the sheriff’s office in McMinnville, where he was long overdue. First he would drive Jane back to his place, where she could rest before returning to Portland. She was still a bit pale. Lindsey Wyatt’s vision had drained her.

 

Next Chapter: The Raped Wench

(Previous Chapter: The Torn Patient)

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